Ever since I saw these on Pinterest several months ago, I knew they would be perfect for Valentine's Day. I'm not much of a celebrator, I don't expect (nor would I want) diamonds, or anything of the sort, but I do like the idea of giving friends, family, and all those special people in our lives (not just significant others) a little something to show them affection. See Also: -Make Your Own Hand-Pulled Cotton Candy -From Pinterest to Real Life: Valentine's Day Heart Cake -Ward off the Flu with Fire Cider
I have to be honest from the get-go, though, and disclose that these little gems are not the easiest to make... unless you like the sensation of putting your fingertips on something that's about 350°. I was so annoyed while making them that the only thing that got me through it was telling myself all the terrible things I would say about them. But then I shared them with my family -- and the look on my six year old son's face when he realized it was I who had written the message for him was, as they say, priceless.
The original recipe comes from Martha Stewart, which fails to warn about 3rd degree burns (maybe I'm exaggerating a bit), and doesn't really offer a lot of help.
Here are some tips I picked up along the way:
First - Write out some sweet nothings on small pieces of paper. Mine were about 1cm x 4cm. I also think it would be nice - for those people living the family life - to write some out as coupons, like - "Good for one full day of no dish washing." Are you listening, out there?!?
Second - Martha's website provides a stencil for the cookies, which I wasn't able to print out. Instead I drew a stencil onto the back side of a piece of parchment paper using a 24oz can as a guide, bu after making a few batches, I don't think this step is critical.
Third - This is a little tricky. Place about a teaspoon's worth of batter in the center of the circle and spread it thin. The first few times, my batter was too thick, resulting in a cake-like cookie that couldn't be manipulated into a fortune cookie shape. Also, my circles ended up being a little too wide for the look I was going for.
Now the real fun begins...
I'm sorry I don't have detailed photos of the rest of the process. It's hard to take pictures when both hands are occupied. Also, from the time the the cookies come out of the oven, there exists about a 10 second window to get them folded into shape, which is why only two are baked at one time.
Fourth - Use a spatula to lift one side of the cookie and fold it in half like a taco. Use your fingers to lift the cookie and pinch the halves together. Stick your fingers into the spaces in the side of the cookie while using your thumbs to bend the cookie into place. It helps to practice with a piece of paper first.
Also, while this recipe says it makes 15 cookies, I had enough batter for about 45. Maybe Martha's stencil is gigantic? I didn't make 45 though cause cooking only two cookies at a time for 6 to 7 minutes each was driving me INSANE. I'm learning that I should start recruiting baking buddies... (That's my fifth tip!)
But seriously, fussing aside, this is a really sweet gesture that is sure to make this Valentine's Day extra special. Especially if you can recruit a few kids to write the notes... Yes, I think I know what I'll be doing again next weekend - my fingers could use a little more toughening up.
4 large egg whites 1 cup superfine sugar 1 cup all purpose flour - sifted pinch of salt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 3 tablespoons heavy cream scant teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and sugar on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add flour and salt and beat until combined. Add butter, heavy cream, and almond extract and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
Spoon the batter onto circle stencil shapes, or onto one side of the pan and spread the batter into a thin disc. Transfer to oven and bake until the edges turn golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Follow the above directions to shape the cookie, or refer to Martha's description.